News and notes from WPIAL and City League ...
Bethel Par's big man lights it up early
Bethel Park boys basketball coach Ben O'Connor said the light bulb "went off" in Wyatt Hagerty in the past year.
Now, Division I college coaches are starting to see the light.
Hagerty, a 6-foot-11, 252-pound senior center, has received three Division I college scholarship offers in the past two weeks. James Madison was the first to offer. This week, New Hampshire and Rider joined the list.
Hagerty has had considerable size for quite a while, but has grown into his body in the past year or so, and has improved his game dramatically. He had 16 points and 19 rebounds against Brashear Tuesday, and 19 points and 26 rebounds last Saturday against Obama.
"I think the light bulb went off in him and he said, 'This sport can help me and help me get to college,'" O'Connor said. "A lot of people say you can't teach 6-11 and that's true. But he has worked really hard on his body in the past year and I think everyone now is just impressed that he can do the simple things, like catch the ball and run rim to rim.
"He just really didn't get it until last year and in the spring."
Geno Thorpe is the only starter back from a Shaler team that advanced to the WPIAL semifinals last season. Judging from the first three games, it looks as though he could carry the Titans this season.
Thorpe is averaging 32 points. He had 21 and 30 in the first two games, and then scored 45 Tuesday in an 83-63 victory against McKeesport.
Thorpe, a senior guard, was the only WPIAL senior to sign with a Division I college during the NCAA's early-signing period last month.
WPIAL section play started for girls teams Thursday night. Section play for most WPIAL boys teams begins tonight.
An interesting WPIAL Class AAAA Section 3 game will be Tuesday when Shaler plays at North Allegheny. Thorpe will have to deal with North Allegheny's full-court, pressure defense.
Teams face penalties
The Leechburg and Winchester Thurston boys basketball programs could be hit with some minor penalties from the WPIAL for playing a game against a non-sanctioned team.
Leechburg played host to a four-team tournament last Friday and Saturday. One of the teams was St. Gertrude. Leechburg played St. Gertrude Friday and Winchester Thurston played St. Gertrude Saturday. But St. Gertrude does not have a high school. It is a Catholic church in Vandergrift and the team is a CYO squad with players from various high schools.
Under PIAA and WPIAL rules, high school teams cannot play a team that is not a sanctioned high school team. The WPIAL will consider the matter Monday and then decide on what, if any, penalties to levy on Leechburg and Winchester Thurston.
By the way, one of St. Gertrude's best players is J.J. Cosentino, the quarterback of Central Catholic's football team.
Two freshmen are making quite the impacts on their WPIAL teams.
Ellwood City's Nick Aloi, a 5-foot-8 ninth-grader, is averaging 20 points a game. He had 33 in a victory against Sharpsville last Saturday. He is the son of Frank Aloi and nephew of Dan Aloi, both of whom played at Ellwood City in the 1980s. Dan Aloi played at St. Bonaventure and Ohio University.
Maverick Rowan is a 6-6 freshman at Lincoln Park who is averaging 15 points in the first two games. He is the son of former WPIAL coach Ron Rowan. Dad was a star player at Beaver Falls and went on to play at Notre Dame and St. John's.
Mike White: email@example.com